The United States Mission in Nigeria has dismissed recent misleading posts on social media speculating on the origin of current global outbreak of monkeypox disease, and supposed call for the World Health Organisation, WHO, to investigate so-called “U.S.-controlled laboratories” in Nigeria.
A statement from Public Affairs Section of the US Consulate General in Lagos describes such reports as pure fabrication.
According to the statement, there is zero merit to any allegations regarding the use of U.S.-assisted Nigerian laboratories in the spread of monkeypox. Furthermore, there are no “U.S.-controlled” laboratories in Nigeria.
“These falsehoods detract from the work that the United States, in close coordination with Nigerian and multilateral partners, accomplish together on public health, including in disease surveillance, diagnosis, prevention, and control.
While dismissing the allegations, the US Mission pointed out that the collaborative work between Nigeria and the United States had provided opportunities for technical assistance in capacity building, equipment, commodities/consumables, and funding to critical public health program, hospitals and laboratories.
It says through the collaborative interventions, US government agencies working in Nigeria (including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Program) and their implementing partners have supported both national and state laboratories with technical assistance and funding.
“These laboratories are Nigerian, and U.S. support enables them to provide essential services for the public good and the health of Nigeria’s citizens. “Especially important, our support to laboratories across the country extends to quality improvements that ensure they have appropriate levels of biosafety and biosecurity requirements in place.
It notes that Monkeypox is not a new disease, nor is it unique to Nigeria or this region, having first been diagnosed in 1970 in the DRC. As we work together to contain its spread, exported cases have been reported in the United Kingdom, United States, and other parts of the world.
It says that the United States government will continue to lend its support and work closely with the government of Nigeria in responding to the ongoing global monkeypox and COVID-19 outbreaks and intensify support to Nigeria in other areas on which it had proudly partnered over the years, such as HIV epidemic control, tuberculosis eradication, malaria elimination, prevention of vaccine-preventable disease, and enhancing food and nutrition.
By Omolara Omosanya